Saturday, January 07, 2006

Pineapple Specimen Sources

The most readily available source of specimens for the home pineapple grower is probably a local grocery store. The crown of a pineapple fruit can be propagated fairly easily, as described in a previous post on the Pineapple Blog.

However, there are many different pineapple varieties. Most grocery stores (at least in the western U.S.) carry the smooth cayenne or the related (and newer) golden variety: yellow flesh, cylindrical, about the size of a football, juicy, smooth leaves with no spines on the edges. The Maui Pineapple Company has posted some information about golden and Champaka (a Cayenne variety) pineapples.

There's nothing wrong with the cayenne, which makes a fine choice for home cultivation. And, a home-grown cayenne is likely to be much superior to (but probably smaller than) a store-bought, because the grower can be sure to allow the fruit to ripen fully before harvesting.

But, one of the best things about home pineapple cultivation is the chance to grow more unusual pineapple varieties. Some sources for non-cayenne pineapple specimens are listed below:

  • Fruit Lover's Nursery in Pahoa, Hawaii sells sugarloaf pineapple crowns from June to August. Great crowns, very easy to root.
  • Montoso Gardens in Maricao, Puerto Rico sells non-edible nanus pineapple plants. Beautiful, healthy specimen.
  • Harry & David, the mail-order fruit company, sells "baby pineapples" (probably the "Z" queen variety), whose crowns can be propagated. Can be difficult to grow successfully.
  • baying4u, an ebay merchant in southern California, sells several different varieties of harder-to-find pineapple plants, such as the white perola, Kona sugarloaf and lucidus. Decent, but not perfect, quality plants.
  • Florists will sometimes carry cut ornamental variegated pineapples for floral arrangements. Very difficult to propagate successfully.

Purdue University's NewCROP website has an electronic version of Fruits of Warm Climates by Julia F. Morton. This on-line text includes what is probably the most extensive catalog of pineapple variety descriptions publicly available on the web.

(This post has been updated.)